Daily Archives: December 14, 2012

And the circus begins

Acting on Obama’s wise adage, “don’t let a tragedy go  to waste”, the press and its president and all the usual suspects rushed to turn yesterday’s carnage into a vehicle to extend their war on guns to their next target, the “assault rifle” , which they define as any weapon that is scary enough to alarm those unfamiliar with weapons – the term has no meaning otherwise, and  refers to no particular attributes of the gun itself. Yesterday’s poster child is  “the Bushmaster”, the civilian model of the M-16, modified to prevent automatic fire. That the gun was found locked in the trunk of the madman’s car makes no difference: most media outlets don’t mention that at all, and those that do evade that distinction by describing it as “found at the scene of the massacre” and continue from there. A 9MM pistol, which was in fact the weapon used, is more powerful than an AR-15, shoots just as quickly and to my eye, at least, is just as ugly and menacing as the Bushmaster, but the marching order here is to focus on “assault rifles”, with pistols to be addressed later, so for today, the weeping media and politicians want to talk rifles. As usual, Business Insider provides the lede that sums up the entire effort – stand back and watch the media work its magic:

Screen Shot 2012-12-14 at 7.17.34 PM

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New Listings

 

It's that "eclectic look"

537 North Street, displaying that “eclectic look”

537 North Street has reemerged after serving as a rental for the past few years. Asking $7.350 million now, down from its builder’s 2006 price of $9.995 and down just about a $million from its last, 2009 price of $8.250. I found it a very odd house, but perhaps its new price will make it more appealing. Never seen a toilet perched two feet away from the head of a bathtub, just as a for instance. But whatever.

And here’s a curious one, 1 Deer Lane is offered for sale for $4.385 million, 1 1/2 acres in the R-1 zone. The builder/developer who now owns it bought it just last week from the guy they sold their new construction at 69 Rockwood Lane to for a reported $6.050. So what’s the deal? Land swap? Discount? Arms length transaction? I report, you decide (a reader tipped me off to this odd transaction earlier this week but I held off writing about it until today, when One Deer surfaced).

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Four sales reported, three of which surprise me, a little

Link for all four sales here.

6 Raymond Street, Old Greenwich, sold for $3.325. It asked $4.2 million back when it was built in 2007 and didn’t get it, but over $3 on Raymond? Who’d have believed it, back then.

158 Indian Head Road, $11.991 million – July contract, December closing. My heavens. Great land, but I was not as enthusiastic about the house as this buyer obviously was, or is.

15 Horseshoe Lane, Cos Cob, $1.3 million. It sold for $1.285 million in 2002 and that was without a body in the garage.

146 Valley Road, Cos Cob, $1,217,500. Last sold, in 2003, for $1,175,480, so this house must attract owners who like to dicker to the last penny, but it’s a nifty little house nonetheless. This sale I understand.

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New construction under contract

To be built - or not

To be built – or not

3 Elizabeth Lane, that dead end off of Riverside Lane in NoPo has a contract after sitting as an empty lot the past year. The list price was $1.895 million but because the house hasn’t been built yet I’m sure that price will be adjusted up or down depending on what the buyer specifies. 3,000 square feet plus a finished basement.

If a modest house at this location can command a price like this then I’d consider 114 Hendrie Avenue in Riverside proper, asking $790,000, as an investment property. Pay, say, $750,000, build a house (listing broker Tom Gorin suggests building “a modern-day Murphy house” which, as residents during the 60s will remember were cheap, indestructible homes, all of which are still standing)  and rent it out for the next twenty years at $8,000 per month to corporate executives. Yes, it backs up to the tracks and yes, the tracks here are not down in the noise-muffling trench that begins further on, but you’re 500′ from Riverside School and not much farther than that from Eastern and the train (assuming your tenant prefers to use the station, rather than hop a freight in his backyard). You financial wizards can do the math on this but it seems like a good proposition to me.

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Modern education in a nutshell

Ignorant Fluke

Abby Rogers, Ignorant Fluke

Courtesy of – where else? – Business Insider, comes this gem in what purports to be a news item on Justice Scalia:

“He’s so firm in his views, he even went so far as to imply that anyone who disagrees with him is simply wrong.”

The idiot intern who wrote this is undoubtedly a college student who has spent the past sixteen years learning that all truth is relative and there can be no such thing as a fixed principle. She’s also a Democrat – wanna bet?

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Hell, Lottery Commissioner Fudrucker does this a million times a week – how come he’s not in jail?

 

Look, kids, it's a lucky piñata! Tell dad to buy you a ticket.

Look, kids, it’s a lucky piñata! Tell dad to buy you a ticket.

Stamford man arrested for selling losing lottery tickets.

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Walter Olson looks at the appeal of “social conservatives” to blacks and Hispanics and has some advice: dream on.

How’s that anti-gay agenda working out? Not so well. Olson points out that, despite a concerted effort to appeal to all those church-going minorities who are supposed to despise gays and social liberalism, they garner no votes.

We’ve now been hearing the Social Conservative Minority Realignment Thesis for at least twenty if not thirty years. It became popular around the 1980s, the era in which organized religious conservatives began throwing around major weight in the GOP. And after two decades or more we’re entitled to ask: does it work? For years, conservative politicos have been frantically clearing the runways and waving at every dot on the horizon. Shouldn’t the realignment planes have started landing by now?

In other words, the black precincts in [Prince George's County, MD]  with the strongest inclination toward social conservatism, as measured by their sentiments on gay marriage, gave Republican candidates a vote percentage more often associated with Libertarian candidates and rounding errors.

Olson prescribes a sensible approach for future campaigns, but one that I think will never work:

Suppose the party were to drop its odd view of minority voters as motivated mostly by (and in favor of) social conservatism. It might instead choose to appeal to them on the same grounds as other citizens; that is, by emphasizing questions of fiscal soundness, better grasp of national defense and the needs of small business, and other historic themes from the long-past Nixon-Eisenhower era when Republicans used to do better with the minority vote. Alternatively (or in addition), it might resolve to listen to what minorities actually say about why they view the parties the way they do, perhaps with a special ear to the voices of younger voters who might be more open to rethinking old political habits.

The reason that won’t work is that black, illiterate, uneducated 37-year-old grandmothers know full well that they’re not going anywhere, ever, if they have to rely on their skills and value as an employee. What appeal does the fiscal soundness of the nation as a whole or a strong national defense have to a woman living in a shitty apartment with two more generations of just-as-illiterate descendants (latest survey shows 92% of all  “graduates” of Buffalo’s public schools can’t read, period) who need new Nikes? Only a beneficent government, one strong enough to wrest from others and give to them, is going to make a material difference in their lives, and they know it. Illiterate and uneducated, yes; stupid, no.

But writing off the black vote, inevitable as it is, and focusing on other voters won’t accomplish anything either. I saw a poll earlier this week showing that a majority of voters who identify themselves as Republicans want no increase in taxes and no cuts in Medicare, Social Security or any other entitlement programs. In other words, what regressives have been attempting to do since they first elected FDR is within sight: the majority of Americans expect and demand that someone else provide for them. Hell, some people have grown so helpless that they cheer when the government promises to press the mute button on their TV so they can be spared the effort.

Three hundred years to build this nation, seventy years to tear it down. I give it another thirty before that destruction is complete, not necessarily because I think we’ll last that long but because one hundred is a nice round number to remember – future historians will appreciate our effort to make it easier for them.

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